Monday, May 19, 2008

Terrain Project: Rocky Hill

For an upcoming battle report, I created a piece of terrain that will serve as a centerpiece for the battle. It isn't all that ornate, but it will serve to function as a strategically important landmark for the battle. Here I will detail how I made it and include some pictures of the construction process: The purpose was to create a rocky hill, terraced so that I could place various miniatures on the steps.

Materials used:
  • 1" thick pink insulation foam
  • white glue
  • sand
  • GW static grass
  • Sheet rock filler
Step One: I carved out the basic shape from the insulation foam and made five separate layers of the hill, gluing each of them together.

Step Two: Using scrap pieces of the foam, I carved out various irregular rocky shapes and glued them into place. Some were strategically sized and placed so as to make little perches for miniatures.
Step Three: Next I used sheet rock plaster to fill in some of the spaces made when I placed in the rocks. I then used sandpaper to smooth off the roughest patches.
Step Four: Using watered down white glue, I spread the glue with a paintbrush over the entire model where I intended it to be grassy. I sprinkled sand over the glue and let it dry completely. After shaking off the excess sand, I painted more watered down glue over the sand to seal it in place. If you don’t want until the sand is fully dry before attempting to seal it, the sand layer will come off completely, so it’s best to wait several hours before putting on the second coat.
Step Five: I basecoated all the grassy areas with Goblin Green, the rocks with a 1:1 mix of Codex Gray and Chaos Black, and painted in some dirt patches with Scorched Brown.
Step Six: Finally I drybrushed the grass with Scorpion Green, the rocks with Codex Grey, and the dirt patches with Graveyard Earth. Finally, I glued some static grass in strategic places throughout the hill. Looks like this terrain piece is ready to go!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Battle Report: Tau vs. Imperial Navy Cruiser Clash (modified)

It has been…well, years since I’ve played a game of Battlefleet Gothic, and my fleets have long been gathering dust on the shelf. However, I love the game, so it was high time to have another battle. I had been building up a Tau fleet for a long time as well, but as yet it had remained unblooded. Time to finally get them up in the sky and into the fight. We were both rusty on the rules, so it would be a refresher battle more than anything else. Although I call this a Cruiser Clash, it isn't quite the same--we're not using victory points or anything like that. It's mainly just a basic fleet engagement with the most basic of objectives: destroy the enemy fleet or force it to flee.
For this battle report I also attempted something relatively new for me—adding fluff text to the report itself. I have inserted very small amounts of fluff into previous battle reports, but this time I would include a generous amount of it. Also these maps are new my BFG battle reports, so I decided to have a little fun with them. They aren't as "clear" as the maps are on some of the other batreps, but I was going more for atmosphere on them than anything else. I based the symbols on the NTDS symbols from old U.S. naval tactical displays. They aren't perfect, and I don't use them exactly the same way, but they get the point across.

Tau vs. Imperial Navy, 1,425pts

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Battle Report: Apocalypse!

With the release of Apocalypse, we decided it is high time to have the biggest battle yet. To maximize the insanity, we decided to use every miniature in our collections that we could get our hands on. The battle would be fought on my 9’ x 5’ table, broken out especially for this occasion. Even so, the table is still a bit small considering the amount of miniatures available, so the sides will be wall-to-wall with miniatures. Dividing the forces was pretty clear, although some rationalizing was needed as to why some of the forces would be allied for the battle. Allying Space Marines and Imperial Guard makes obvious sense, and allying them with Eldar and Tau is easy enough to explain. The bad guys…well, that was more difficult. After all, why would Tyranids or Necrons ally themselves with anyone? We decided that for the purposes of the battle, Chaos and Orks had formed a temporary alliance. Chaos had also managed to corrupt some Imperial Guard into fighting for them (we split the Imperial Guard between the two sides to help equalize the points). We also decided that the Chaos Gods (Tzeentch, perhaps) had intervened and managed to “convince” the Tyranid Hive Mind to fight for Chaos. The Necrons…well, no one knows just why they do anything, so suffice it to say they showed up and started firing, and no one bothered to ask questions.

We began using the normal Apocalypse setup rules. The die roll to determine no-man’s land and deployment zones ended up being so close to exactly dividing the table in half, we decided to just split it right down the middle. Since the Forces of Order were ~750 points smaller than Disorder, they got three Strategic Assets to Disorder’s one. We were already behind schedule, so rather than poring over the rulebook to pick the most efficient assets, we randomly determined them. Order got Surgical Raids, Hold at all Costs, and Null Field Generator. Disorder got Flank March.

We bid to determine deployment order, with Order bidding 14 minutes, Disorder bidding 12. Seeing as the armies we just so big, we helped each other with deployment. After time ran out for Disorder’s deployment, and seeing how little we managed to actually get on the table, we tossed the rules out the window, and just deployed the entire force. It looked more impressive that way, and we wouldn’t have to deal with all the reserve rules. It also made Disorder’s strategic asset, Flank March, irrelevant. Once the Forces of Disorder were down, we deployed the Forces of Order. Looking at the sheer mass of miniatures on the table, we tossed the Objectives rules out the window as well. With the table wall-to-wall with miniatures, there was practically no room to place any! Therefore we decided on a straight out slugfest. This made Order’s strategic asset, Hold at all Costs, irrelevant. In the interests of time we also just decided to ignore Order’s Null Field Generator asset, and then promptly forgot about the Surgical Raids asset, but then applied it later.

By the time we were actually ready to start playing, the day was already half over, so in many situations we just tossed out the rules to just get on with playing. I can’t emphasize enough the need to be organized to run a big battle like this. We had army lists printed out and all together in a binder for easy access, tons of dice and templates ready, tables ready to accept casualties and hold drinks, multiple tape measures, and all the codices stacked neatly for easy reference. And still we felt disorganized.

I’m sure that throughout the battle, there we plenty of times that we screwed up and forgot unit X’s special rule, or even basic rules of the game, but we glossed over all that in the interests of keeping the game moving forward, otherwise we’d have been there forever. It’s hard enough to keep the special rules of your particular army in mind, let alone running four or five armies totaling up to 13,000 points all at the same time! Still, the point of the game, Apocalypse especially, is to just have fun, and if some rules are forgotten in the grind, so be it.

We had one additional player show up and provide some more support and help us move things along a little, but for the most part, it was just me and Jacob. In taking notes and pictures, and with all the chaos going on, I know for a fact that there are some mistakes in the maps, but for the most part, they are accurate enough to show most of what happened.